March 23, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Pat Clancy, Week 7



How can I determine whether things are made of cellophane or plastic? For instance, the bag inside of the cereal box, or the see-through bags of granola, the window on the paper bread bag, etc.? Beth has made me think about all these things, and my count this week is higher than ever!

Location:Lisle, Illinois, United States

Name: Pat Clancy

Week: 7

Personal Info:

Divorced, retired female, live with one adult son. I am an organic gardener, grow some of my own vegetables and compost kitchen waste.

Pat Clancy’s personal blog:

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Plastic grocery bags; produce bags. I bought Better Than Boullion on line so I don’t need to buy ready-made broth in Tetra Paks. I canceled my Dr. Weil vitamin program, though I still have a couple of months’ worth to finish. I bought toilet paper from Seventh Generation on line to avoid the plastic wrapper.

Total items collected: 67

Total weight: 9 oz

Items: Recyclable
Vegetable tray #1 (given to me by a friend going on vacation)
Lid to vegetable tray #1
1 yogurt cup #5
5 plastic bags (sandwich bread, pita bread, newspaper, magazine, 2 worn out torn ones)
2 hummus containers #5 & #1
2 lids from hummus #1 & #4

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 piece Glad Wrap
3 pieces of bubble wrap (shipping of Better than Boullion)
2 plastic seals (hummus)
1 cheese wrapper
5 safety seals from bottles
1 plant label (found outside in the garden)
8 vitamin packets
1 honey bear bottle
1 shipping label
1 blister pack (probiotic)
9 window envelopes
1 shipping strap (birthday gift for granddaughter)
1 unsolicited membership card
3 tea bag wrappers
1 cookie wrapper (gift from friend)
1 wine cork
13 fruit labels
1 cereal bag
1 hook from a tag
1 tag from kale

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
I have canceled Dr. Weil’s vitamins which come in individual packets. Still using up.
Honey – find in a glass jar
Probiotic – ” ” ” ” ”
Tea bags

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Boxed cereal
Precut vegetables in plastic clamshell

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
I’ve got the recipe for yogurt and I’m sure I can make my own. Hummus, I still have not investigated how to make my own. Pita bread is essential. I did find bakery bread in a paper bag, but with a plastic or cellophane window, and I really didn’t like the bread.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Make more things from scratch instead of buying ready made.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Junk mail! I will make more calls to cancel mail. This was election week, so the mail was heavier than usual. Every good cause that I get interested in results in a deluge of mail!!!

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Keep trying!

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5 Comments on "Plastic Challenge: Pat Clancy, Week 7"

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Hi Pat, I just made hummus from scratch this week. I hadn’t made it in 10 years, I guess I forgot how easy it is to make! You will be so happy when you see the difference in price from store bought too.
I did buy the tahini in a glass jar that had a plastic safety seal. That was the only plastic involved.
I wonder if I can get around that next time!

Hi Pat. The last thing I want to do is discourage you, but the sad truth is that most clear films and bags are plastic, not cellophane these days. If something is not labelled as cellophane, and I have no way to know what it is, I just assume it’s plastic. Real cellophane from trees is pretty rare these days.

So sorry to hear that, Beth.  It is really hard to shop without encountering plastic packaging.  I admire your purist attitude but I’m not sure I can live up to it.  I went out of town for 10 days in mid-April and have not gotten back on track with separating, counting and posting my plastic trash, but will try to start up again.  I’m not making my own yogurt and hummus – though my son bought 3 containers of hummus last week.  I think he buys it for me, so I’ll have to clear that up.

 @Pat Clancy I don’t expect most people to be as “purist” as I am.  Some would call it obsessive.  My goal is to show what is possible and to encourage people to make mindful choices.  I love that you’re making your own yogurt and hummus!

That should read I am NOW making my own yogurt and hummus.